What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in college in the early 2000s, I had an office job, working in the Dean of Students office. There was light filing, phones to answer, messages to take, and errands to run. The students workers (there were always two of us on at one time) sat at a table together, did homework, and talked while we worked. I enjoyed the job, but I had no aspirations of making office work a career.
Flash forward to 2010.
I was twenty-seven years old, and starting the job that has become a career for me…as an Administrative Professional.
Wow, how did that happen?
Turned out, I wasn’t so bad at being an Administrative Professional, and that the work is rewarding. I’ve found myself to be a great problem solver, the maker of an easier day, and people really do have respect for the person that not only orders the office supplies, but also knows how to fix the copier and save the day in many other ways.
Ten years later, I’ve accepted a position elsewhere, a similar position in an entirely different field of work (going from nonprofit that supports and provides advocacy for individuals with intellectual disabilities, to commercial property management). And tomorrow, I’ll be leaving this field behind to pursue my newest chapter.
That’s three chapters since 2019 – marriage, new home, and now a new job. Things happen in threes, and least this set of threes are positive.
But I remember the days of “I never want to file!” and “I’ll never be a Secretary!” I had career aspirations to be a news anchor on the evening news. And that came after wanting to be a teacher. I gave up on those wants, and actually work towards realistic work goals (teaching is realistic, but the older I get, I feel less like a teaching type, and more of the “let me do that!” type).
Today’s commercial from 1999 is an absolute classic, airing during Super Bowl XXXIII. If you don’t remember that Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-19. On a much smaller note, I was sixteen years old, in tenth grade, and still wanted to be a teacher (not for much longer, I changed aspirations a year later). There was this newer website (about five years old at the time) in a world of new websites, and this one wanted to help you land the job of your dreams, and not just “something to pay the bills.” It aimed to give you meaningful work, and not meaningless work, where you could aspire for more than forced early retirement, middle management, being a yes man, or having a brown nose.
The cute part of the commercial is that these very terrible qualities are being told by the most innocent of voices, those of young children. Told from that point of view, everything here sounds terrible.
The year is 1999, the website is Monster, and the commercial is “When I Grow Up.”
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This commercial has made lists of best Super Bowl Commercials, but I remember when it was just another 30-second spot in a sea of expensive ad space during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
The commercial was the work of advertising agency Mullen (now MullenLowe) in Boston, Massachusetts. Shot in black and white, the commercial tells of depressing aspirations of what someone wound up being, instead of what they wanted to be. Of course, it could be depressing, but the kids saying it like this could be the greatest job in the world is hilarious. Revisited by Clio’s website Muse last year (on the commercial’s 20th anniversary), Monster’s super-depressing, yet overly realistic slice of work life was noted as “connecting with the truth” by one of its copywriters, Dylan Lee. The children in the commercial were non-actors, handpicked from around the country.
I remember seeing this commercial, and even as a teenager, knowing none of this was good. And apparently, enough people felt that way and turned to